2021 BMW M3 And M4 Combine Controversial Looks With AWD And Up To 503 HP
BY MICHAEL GAUTHIER
SEPTEMBER 22, 2020
BMW has long used the “ultimate driving machine” motto, but the messaging has been muddied thanks to front-wheel drive models such as the 2-Series Gran Coupe.
However, the M3 and M4 have always exemplified that slogan and the company is looking to build on their success with all-new versions which were introduced earlier tonight.
Starting under the hood, the cars have a twin-turbo 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 473 hp (352 kW / 479 PS) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque. The Competition variants are a tad more powerful as they have 503 hp (375 kW / 510 PS) and 479 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque.Thanks to the added power, the M3 and M4 can accelerate from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 4.1 seconds, before hitting a top of 180 mph (290 km/h) when equipped with the M Driver’s Package. The Competition variants are even faster as the dash to 60 mph (96 km/h) is cut to 3.8 seconds, but the top speed remains unchanged.
Enthusiasts can breathe a sigh of relief as the company announced the standard M3 and M4 will be offered with a six-speed manual and rear-wheel drive. Besides keeping drivers involved, the gearbox weighs 50 lbs (22.7 kg) less than the eight-speed automatic and BMW says this helps to improve front-to-rear weight distribution.
Due to the extra torque, the Competition variants are automatic-only. To compensate, there’s a rev-matching downshift function and a manual mode that is controlled by steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.Of course, the big news is the addition of all-wheel drive. Available exclusively on Competition variants, the M xDrive system is rear-biased and features an Active M rear differential.
To ensure the cars handle in a traditional BMW M fashion, torque is directed to the rear wheels during normal driving. When extra traction is needed, power is sent to the front wheels for added grip.
The all-wheel drive system has three different modes including the default 4WD setting. 4WD Sport directs more torque to the rear wheels during dynamic driving and is designed to work “particularly well” on the track. Customers can also select 2WD which switches off the dynamic stability control system and allows fans to enjoy a “pure rear-wheel drive experience without any system intervention.”